Heinrich, Luján, Leger Fernández Welcome $2.9 Million to Improve Digital Technology at New Mexico Highlands University

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) are welcoming $2.9 million in funding from the National Telecommunications Information Administration to New Mexico Highlands University to help develop the use of digital technology in marginalized populations in Northern New Mexico. 

This grant is awarded by the National Telecommunications Information Administration under the Connecting Minority Communities program. The Connecting Minority Communities Program is a grant program to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the purchase of broadband internet access service and eligible equipment or to hire and train information technology personnel. It was created and funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

“New Mexico Highlands University has created a truly unique project that successfully merges digital strategies with acequia and land grant education,” said Heinrich. “I am proud to welcome this federal investment to enhance NMHU’s ability to support workforce development and connect with rural communities in northern New Mexico.”

“With the rapid development and transition to digital technology, it is important that all New Mexicans have the resources and training needed to successfully utilize online technology,” said Luján. “That’s why I’m pleased to welcome this bold investment for my alma mater, New Mexico Highlands University, to improve digital literacy in Northern New Mexico communities. This grant will help fund the Acequia and Land Grant Education (ALGE) Project to work closely with communities and students to develop digital resource libraries, provide technical support, and workshops to high school students and families — moving us all one step closer to digital equity.”

“I am excited to see this grant funding going to Highlands University in my hometown of Las Vegas. I believe that connecting underserved communities is one of the most important things we can do to promote the education and success of our promising young people,” said Rep. Leger Fernández. “As a Hispanic-serving institution, NMHU is a leader in promoting leadership, equity, and growth in our comunidades here in New Mexico. Let’s do more for our students.”

“The Acequia and Land Grant Education (ALGE) Project will allow New Mexico Highlands University to model culturally and linguistically relevant learning and teaching for a national audience by employing civics and history studies with a focus on acequia and land grant education, a topic that intersects Tribal, Pueblo, Nation, and Hispanic communities. It will also provide critically needed last-mile technologies to reach rural and rural-remote communities in Northern New Mexico. Furthermore, it will meet state advanced placement standards to also serve as a bridge for high school students to advance to higher education,” said Dr. Mary Earick, Dean of NMHU School of Education. “This work grew out of a Governor’s Emergency Education Relief grant and a legislative appropriation to address the lack of acequia and land grant education in public schools. The ALGE project will be the first research initiative for the Institute for Culturally and Linguistically Response Learning and Teaching (ICLRLT) in the NMHU School of Education, which was recently endowed by the Higher Education Department.”



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